I thought I’d write a little bit on our past in advertising as I happened to mention to some colleagues that I used to have this “luggable” computer and they said “blog material!”. I hate writing this because it shows my age and I always think myself young. In technology, though, everything is old fast.
We were never much the MadMen scenario but we did have drinks at lunch once in a while. We started Fusion after the tail end of that kind of thing…except on trips to other cities with clients. Those were wild and may still be wild. But drinking in the office had become a Friday at 4pm thing, with the norm being one drink. Two for us old-school guys.
Fusion started with no computers in 1992. We always heard that Joe Grande had a Mac and that made us jealous and wanting.
We started with my aforementioned Hyperion dual 5 ¼ inch disk drive “luggable” machine for proposals and letters with the help of an old typewriter. Seems with that kind of past, I would by now be laid out to rest in the ad farm in the sky. But while I haven’t gotten old fast, that thing did.
We got our first Mac around 1993-4 and I think it was a Macintosh IIsi. One Mac for two designers and then two Macs for four designers to share.
Times before computers were fun times. Sort of. All hands-on. Everything hand drawn for mockups. Felt pens, coloured pencils, pastels, Letraset were everywhere. Client revisions were a nightmare to make in order to give them a new proof. Colours could only be shown with Pantone chips.
We often had to work all hours of the day/night to get something done as clients never understood how long these things took so took their time with proofs (and that hasn’t changed much!). We sent out for type galleys and cut rubylith to build a 100 page annual report. It was fun because it was a grind and we were small and did it together and with lots of Bourbon. And me, the business guy, was right in there, sleeves rolled up and cutting ruby and pressing down Letraset.
We ordered type galleys and waited for them to arrive until we had to jump in the car and harass the supplier (DesignType). If the galley didn’t fit, you had to order it again with different specs and go through the same dash to their shop and back. You begged and pleaded to skip the lineup they had and always seemed to owe these guys for all the last-minute favours. Or, if the deadline was very tight, you chopped up the type galley and taped it in pieces where you needed it. And then we worked and worked and worked some more toprovide these fragile things to film companies who shot half-tones or output film for the printer.
The computer killed those companies fairly quickly, but it made us incredibly faster and it has made us all much better designers (after some time period of poor design because you could do all these new and cool things on the computer).
I don’t know what happened to the Hyperion, but I may have left it in its bag in storage in the basement of a hundred and twenty year old building that was our second office. Someone will enjoy that find (but won't know what to do with it).
My newest nerdy interest? Videos promoting products and services. On my last day of television production class this semester, my instructor had us execute a budgeting exercise for a pseudo freelance video project. He got us all amped up (or at least me) about doing freelance video work.
“Just because you’re not media production students, don’t discount the fact that you have skills that most of the population does not have.”
I’m in. Video work can be long and tedious, but it’s pretty fun, and the end result is so satisfying. It’s an area of work I really want to expand my skills in. Not just for products and services-weddings, local shows, events, etc.
As for products and services, if you’ve been online for any length of time, you’ve probably seem them-copious amounts of product or service launch videos. The content of these videos is often a pretty general attempt at building excitement-“This product is amazing! Outstanding results! Coming soon! Be the first!” etc. etc.
Even testimonials from supposed reliable people/sources can seem nothing more than an onscreen performance.
While these types of videos may work on the average gullible or uninformed person, there’s no real substance behind them. At the end of the day, they’re a pretty weak attempt to build excitement about the launch of a product.
You want your product-launch content, in whatever form it takes, to be something meaningful and beneficial to the person receiving it. You want them to be glad they spent their time engaging and being exposed to your message. A video for a product launch should make people feel like you are enlightening them, rather than selling them something. Even if they don’t buy instantaneously, this kind of message will stick in their brain. Building trust and goodwill will significantly increase your chance for conversation, interaction, and an interest in your product or service, from your desired target audience.
Easier said than done, right? Here’s three videos for new products/services I found that I think do a pretty good job.
David Ogilvy, often referred to as the father of advertising, saw advertising as black and white, with no ambiguity or grey area.
His book, The Theory and Practice of Selling the Aga Cooker, is a legitimate manual of rights and wrongs when it comes to the practice of advertising-anyone in the industry is most likely familiar.
I quite enjoy the above video. He was an intriguing guy for sure.
I love how at the beginning of the video he says, “I wish I could be with you today, in the flesh as they say.” Rhyme intended?
“Ever been in India? It’s hot. If you don’t mind I’m going to take off my coat,” is also pretty amusing to me.
A lot of his views are controversial.
One of his most well known beliefs was that long copy about the benefits of a product/service was the only way to sell something.
He was strongly against short or cutesy/poetic copy. It seems crazy to me that long copy about benefits could be the only way to go for ANY product or service!
Then again, he was from a different time. But even for advertising coming out of the mid-1900’s, I can’t seem to wrap my brain around this concept.
Below is a list written by him I found online about how an advertising agency should be. Some of the language is obviously a little humorous in this day and age, but the core values still remain true, in my opinion.
1) We treat our people like human beings. We help them when they are in trouble—with their jobs, with illnesses, with alcoholism, and so on.
2) We help our people make the best of their talents. We invest an awful lot of time and money in training—perhaps more than any of our competitors.
3) Our system of management is singularly democratic. We don’t like hierarchical bureaucracy or rigid pecking orders.
4) We abhor ruthlessness.
5) We like people with gentle manners. Our New York office goes so far as to give an annual award for what they call “professionalism combined with civility.”
6) We like people who are honest. Honest in argument, honest with clients, honest with suppliers, and honest with the company.
7) We admire people who work hard. Objectivity and thoroughness are admired.
8) Superficiality is not admired.
9) We despise and detest office politicians, toadies, bullies, and pompous asses.
10) The way up the ladder is open to everybody. We are free from prejudice of any kind—religious prejudice, racial prejudice or sexual prejudice.
11) We detest nepotism and every other form of favouritism.
12) In promoting people to top jobs, we are influenced as much by their characters as by anything else.
Fusion is a full-service agency providing clients with marketing, advertising and branding strategy in
Winnipeg and beyond. Have a look at our work and case studies
to find out why more companies are choosing Fusion for smart advertising and marketing solutions.